Knucklers don't get any respect. And I mean that.
Only two knuckleballers currently reside in the Hall of Fame. One of them is Phil Niekro. The other is Hoyt Wilhelm. Both are very good pitchers, but among other greats they are misunderstood and rarely mentioned. Niekro...hell, he invented pitching into your forties.
And still, for every knuckler that made it to the hall, there'll always be a Charlie Hough, or a Steve Sparks that didn't. Wakefield is probably not a hall of famer either.
But pitching isn't about aiming for the accolades. It's about getting the job done, and baffling your opponents. RA Dickey can do all of this very well.
Recently he had a one-hitter, and that's just the top of his awesome season. My Met-loving cousin had been bragging "how 'bout those Mets. RA Dickey...he's a star." I'm starting to agree with him. He's pitching well this season, is seconded in the rotation to Johan Santana, and he's giving knucklers their reputation back.
He also proves you don't have to look good to be a great pitcher. That'll hurt tomorrow...
Coming Tomorrow- Five years ago he was baseball's biggest story. Now, as his team sinks further into the ground, he's hoping to be its biggest comeback.